Thursday, October 6, 2011

Caving, Climbing, and More Climbing

The last few days have been decidedly hectic, involving multiple trips in the field.  On Saturday, I co-led a trip with the University of Alabama Outdoor Recreation to Anvil Cave, near Hartselle, Alabama (we scouted this trip a few weeks ago).  We took a group of 12 students from the university down Flint Creek and into Anvil Cave.  The crew was very adventurous, so we got to do a lot of squeezing and crawling.  We even managed a stop at Waffle House on the way back to Tuscaloosa.

A successful adventure
Sam firing the crux up the super-steep "Mud Wall"
Sunday featured a personal trip to Sand Rock with my friend Josh to meet up with our friends Sam, Stephanie, and Tyler.  My goal for the day was to get as physically worked as possible, in a vain attempt to get back into climbing shape since my recent hiatus.  While my confidence trad climbing was not what it normally is, I still felt pretty good about the day, climbing, falling, and hanging on a good selection of sport climbs.  While we were there, I also spied a potentially unclimbed line that appears it might go on gear from the ground up.  As soon as I get back into fighting shape I am going to attempt an onsight.  However, the highlight of my day was belaying for Sam Latone, one of the strongest climbers I have had the honor to know personally, on his project.  He currently has his sights set on a short sport climb called "Mud Wall" that has been given the difficult grade of 5.13a.  Like a true mutant hardman, he put in a few burns, coming close to a clean ascent by climbing with only one fall at the crux.  I am confident he will send it soon.

Nearing the top of the "Holiday Block" at Sand Rock
On Monday and Tuesday, Peregrine Climbing Guides had its first booking!  We took a group of high school-aged girls from The Altamont School out for some climbing.  We spent the first day covering the basics of climbing and belaying at Palisades Park near Oneonta, Alabama.  On the second day we headed to Sand Rock for the amazing conglomerate and opportunity for great views.  The girls were awesome!  I have worked with a decent number of high school students, and these girls were not only very bright, but attentive, energetic, and also great climbers.  Chris and I had a great time guiding with this group and cannot wait for next year.  

Getting ready to climb at Palisades Park
The last two days have been a bit of recharge time to rest, work out, unpack gear, resupply, and repack gear.  I head back into the field tomorrow to scout out Little River Canyon and DeSoto State Park for a trip with the University of Alabama Outdoor Recreation at the end of October.  I could not be more psyched!

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